William Cheswick ches at cheswick.com
Fri Jul 1 22:47:01 AEST 2016

>>​...​why didn't they have a more capable kernel than MS-DOS?
​>I don't think they cared. or felt it was needed at the time (I disagreed then and still do).

MS-DOS was a better choice at the time than Unix. It had to fit on floppies, and was very simple.

“Unix is a system administrations nightmare” — dmr

Actually, MS-DOS was a runtime system, not an operating system, despite the last two letters of its name.
This is a term of art lost to antiquity.
Run time systems offered a minimum of features: a loader, a file system, a crappy, built-in shell,
I/O for keyboards, tape, screens, crude memory management, etc. No multiuser, no network stacks, no separate processes (mostly). DEC had several (RT11, RSTS, RSX) and the line is perhaps a little fuzzy: they were getting operating-ish.

It all had to fit on a floppy (do I remember correctly that the original floppyies, SSSD, were 90KB?), run
flight simulator and some business apps.  MSDOS lasted a decade, and served the PC world well, for all its
crapiness.  Win 3.1 was an attempt at an OS, and Win 95 an actual one, with a network stack and everything.

>I agree with 90% of what he says, but not about Algol 68.  He obviously
>has a strong preference for small languages: it would be interesting
>to see his uncensored opinions of C++, the Godzilla of our day as Ada

I’d be astonished if he had anything good at all to say about C++.

He’s still around…you could ask him...

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